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Panel Stuff

I don't have much to say about the "Who Is A Journalist?" panel featuring "Jeff Gannon" this morning. To my way of thinking there's not much of an interesting question as to whether or not a dishonest plagiarist employed by partisan political operatives counts as a real journalist or not. It seems pretty obvious. But never let it be said that philosophy has no application in the real world, because I brought up the Sorites Paradox in my opening statement (thanks Professor Heck!). The line of the morning clearly belonged to Gannon who asserted "You can hardly call Fox News a conservative network" which tells you about all you need to know about his credibility.

April 8, 2005 | Permalink

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» Gannon at the Press Club from Political Animal
GANNON AT THE PRESS CLUB....I haven't checked it out yet, but Crooks and Liars has video highlights of today's infamous National Press Club event featuring Jeff Gannon discussing whether he's a real journalist or not. Wonkette and Matt Yglesias are... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 8, 2005 3:26:18 PM

Comments

well, Gannon was right. They're much more a Republican network than a conservative network. I mean, what's conservative about pimping out the swiftvets?

Posted by: Goldberg | Apr 8, 2005 1:39:29 PM

Oh come on Matt, you're not going to tease us with that and not give any more details? Boooooo!

Posted by: J. | Apr 8, 2005 1:41:39 PM

Watched C-Span this morning and was supprised someone didn't knock a knot on Bald Headed Gannons Head. Probley didn't want to get soiled. He is like Mel Martinez has a problem with the truth and moves the blame to some one else when caught.

Posted by: Ron Borresen Sr | Apr 8, 2005 1:44:16 PM

Both Matt and Ana Marie did a descent job. However, Gannon isn't that hard to take down; one just has to give him enough rope.

The moderator's opening statement to let the bloggers know that they need to behave "at the big people's table" was extremely patronizing.

Posted by: Roxanne | Apr 8, 2005 1:46:07 PM

Oh, and you lucked out when the mics were cut right before the FReepers got to the front of the question line.

Posted by: Roxanne | Apr 8, 2005 1:47:26 PM

How does Sorites fit in? How many journalists does it take to make a pile? Or is it how many journalist-like traits does it take to make a journalist?

Posted by: TJ | Apr 8, 2005 1:47:35 PM

The moderator said that? hoo-boy.

Posted by: Atrios | Apr 8, 2005 1:49:55 PM

I didn't see it, but I thought this was noteworthy.

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000874290
Although often under attack, Gannon rarely raised his voice, although at one point he boomed, "I'm not the one who was waving documents at the president saying, hey you were not serving your time in the Texas National Guard!"

Now as I recall, there was a thick stack of official documents to wave, including payroll records, that make it clear that Bush cut some kind of special deal. So I'm just puzzled why Gannon/Guckert would want bring up an issue that obviously does not help the president's case.

...oh right, I guess he means CBS being duped by those lame faxes.

Sigh. The fact that Gannon/Guckert could say this as if to suggest that there wasn't a document trail showing Bush's curious exit from the guard indicates that he is either a brainwashed dupe or a calculating liar. I'm not sure which, though.

If the latter, I admit it is an effective lie. After all the crowing from rightwing bloggers, you sure would think that the phony memos were actually the main evidence behind Bush's lack of service instead of a just a sad, dishonest footnote to the diligent research of thousands.

Posted by: Paul Callahan | Apr 8, 2005 2:05:20 PM

And they sat you right next to JG, tee hee! The strange thing is not that such discussions are hackneyed and repetitive, but that panels like this are still being conducted at all. I thought the journalistic soul-searching was finally fading away. Boring, boring. Just another case of trying to make up for endlessly being behind the curve.

As a soon-to-be degreed journalist, I had one of my professors ask me recently if I thought blogging is journalism. I said, no, in the sense of being a reporter. Some bloggers do original reporting (as in interviewing, going out and finding concrete facts outide of cyberspace) and many research and extrapolate, but for the most part, bloggers are (and only want to be) amateur pundits, which is a kind of journalism, but not what media professionals mean when they ask the question. Most bloggers basically have the attitude that "this is something I'm interested in, and here's what I think about it." The only reason these questions even get asked is that it turns out a lot of people are willing to take a few minutes each day a click on sites to hear someone's opinion.

My professor asked if I thought there was something wrong with people getting their news from blogs. I said a blog is not a newspaper, it's more like a filter. Certain blogs are going to link to certain news items and thereby steer people toward particular kinds of stories, much as Fox News, and, for that matter, McNeil/Lehrer highlight the stories they think are important.

But even so, the panel was made a joke by the presence of JG (I don't know the name he prefers, so I just use the initials), because, as he pointed out, he took pride in simply repeating Republican press releases, though I give him very minor credit for admitting it forthrightly. That was the journalistically ethical problem, that he was acting as a public relations advocate, but pretending to be something else. Someone should give him a copy of the SPJ's code of ethics.

The best point raised was that it is not necessary to be physically present anymore to report on certain kinds of events, like White House press briefings, because they are broadcast. There may be additional subsidiary information that can be glaned from being there in person, but the basic story can be told from watching the tape, as I recently did for a meeting of our city council.

As an example, I can confidently state that MY is developing a style of speaking, including mannerisms, that is reminiscent of Paul Krugman (who really should have a deeper voice if he is going to continue to be a bearded, elder professor type). I also enjoyed watching him dash out the back way as people started to yell at the end. There it is, folks, journalism that counts.

Posted by: Kiril | Apr 8, 2005 2:28:31 PM

National Press Club: bringing gay-bashers and gay-bashees together since April, 2005!

Posted by: Al | Apr 8, 2005 2:32:39 PM

Al, it's nice to see you back to your usual moronic self after your brief bout of sanity and reasonableness the other day. All is once again right in the world.

Posted by: Hank Scorpio | Apr 8, 2005 2:39:51 PM

JG (I don't know the name he prefers

Or else we could use the other!
(Sorry.)

Posted by: Allen K. | Apr 8, 2005 3:11:07 PM

"Most bloggers basically have the attitude that "this is something I'm interested in, and here's what I think about it." The only reason these questions even get asked is that it turns out a lot of people are willing to take a few minutes each day a click on sites to hear someone's opinion."

The main role blogs have for me (besides a means of procrastination) is to give pointers to the front page story that's not on the front page: the key information that our SCLM bury at the end of an article.

Posted by: Ken C. | Apr 8, 2005 3:46:50 PM

It's not a conservative network. It's a GOP propaganda operation.

Posted by: praktike | Apr 8, 2005 3:46:51 PM

Atrios:

He didn't say that exactly. He said something like, "Let me read from our bylaws, blahdie blahdie blahdie blahdie. We're a private club, not a public meeting house. Blahdie blahdie blah. Behavior. Professional. Decorum. etc."

I've been to dozens of events at the "prestigious" NPC and I've never heard anyone give a speech about how to behave at a panel discussion.

Posted by: Roxanne | Apr 8, 2005 3:58:44 PM

Come to think of it, having seen the clip over at Crooks and Liars, that's exactly the point you were trying to make, too! That an ideological publication like the Prospect is not the same thing as a partisan media outlet, which is what FOX is. Though I suppose JimmyJeff was trying to deny that as well.

Posted by: praktike | Apr 8, 2005 3:59:47 PM

The main role blogs have for me (besides a means of procrastination) is to give pointers to the front page story that's not on the front page

Google news search does a great job of that in my estimation. Of course, you have to have an idea of what you're looking for.

I think that political blogs are more useful for their discussion boards than as a main source of news or opinion. I mostly read MY and Brad DeLong. Both have a lot of interesting things to say, but without audience participation, it would be like reading an endless editorial page.

Posted by: Paul Callahan | Apr 8, 2005 4:13:22 PM

Matt,

You seem clearly frustrated that the panel discussion was so frequently diverted by Jimmy/Jeffs constant self-serving ramblings. The discourse would certainly have been elevated without his presence.

But, after watching the clip on C&L, I have to say it was a stroke of genius to include him.

He is the living embodiment of the blathering right wingnut propogandist idiot. It was pure pleasure to watch him struggle to sound like he had any idea whatsoever what he was talking about besides reciting Wingnut theology. He is clearly one of the biggest Tools on the planet and he had his head handed to him by you and Wonkette, as well as others on the panel.

I'm looking forward to seeing a longer clip...what great entertainment!

Posted by: Someones Dad | Apr 8, 2005 4:16:35 PM

"To my way of thinking there's not much of an interesting question as to whether or not a dishonest plagiarist employed by partisan political operatives counts as a real journalist or not. It seems pretty obvious."

I really, honestly hope you actually said THAT at the conference.

Posted by: MNPundit | Apr 8, 2005 4:19:41 PM

"there's not much of an interesting question as to whether or not a dishonest plagiarist employed by partisan political operatives counts as a real journalist or not"

Sounds like a smackdown of a sizable percentage of the NY Times.

Posted by: MJ | Apr 8, 2005 5:08:03 PM

Sounds like a smackdown of a sizable percentage of the NY Times.

Yeah, that Judith Miller really isn't much of a journalist.

Posted by: JP | Apr 8, 2005 5:19:25 PM

It was wonderful entertainment ... especially watching you trying to keep a straight face when JG was talking.

Never attempt a takedown when your opponent is attempting a pratfall.

Posted by: RonK, Seattle | Apr 8, 2005 5:37:01 PM

Oh, yes, it was entertaining. I especially loved how every time someone on the panel would say, "It doesn't matter what someone did before going into journalism" (and it seems to have been more times than was necessary to answer the questions), you could see that person struggling not to look at JG. Nice touch, Matt. Did you and Ana Marie Wonkette come up with hat beforehand?

Posted by: Kiril | Apr 8, 2005 5:49:10 PM

I wondered how you must have felt having Jimmy/Jeff included on a panel with you, but really you made such a stark contrast to the blogging-escort that it was beautiful.

Posted by: des | Apr 8, 2005 7:30:24 PM

matt! THE TIE. what were you thinking?

very nice job otherwise, though.

Posted by: catherine | Apr 8, 2005 8:19:29 PM

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